Amid U.S. standoff, WHO chief to address Chinese university graduates

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FILE PHOTO: Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus speaks during a news conference on the situation of the coronavirus (COVID-2019), in Geneva, Switzerland, February 28, 2020. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

BEIJING (Reuters) – The head of the WHO is due to give a speech to Beijing university students this week, as the U.N. body seeks to manage a resurgence of the coronavirus in China amid hostility from its biggest donor, the United States.

World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus will deliver the graduation speech online to Tsinghua University’s School of Economics and Management on June 21, according to a notice from the university.

Washington has suspended its funding to the WHO, which President Donald Trump has accused of becoming a puppet of China for the way it has handled the coronavirus pandemic.

The WHO has rejected Trump’s assertions that it promoted “disinformation” about the virus from China, where a flare-up of COVID-19 cases has stoked fears of a second wave of infections.

The WHO said on Tuesday that Tedros had given hundreds of addresses since taking office nearly three years ago, including in the past two weeks a virtual speech to New York’s Columbia University and a recorded one for City University of New York.

More people have died of the coronavirus in the United States than in any other country.

Reporting by Gabriel Crossley; Editing by Tony Munroe and John Stonestreet

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